Antony Costa is currently starring as Milton in the new UK tour of Save The Last Dance For Me.
Taking audiences back through the ‘music and magic’ of the early 60s, the tour opened earlier this month and is currently booking to 17th September 2016.
Anthony previously played Mickey in the West End production of Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre and starred in the UK tour of Boogie Nights. He is best known as a member of British boy band Blue who enjoyed chart success with three number one albums and three top ten singles including their debut song ‘All Rise’.
I recently spoke to Antony about returning to theatre, his favourite songs in Save The Last Dance For Me and why people shouldn’t judge something until they’ve seen it…
How did your casting in Save The Last Dance For Me come about?
Well I went to an audition first of all – I went to Bill Kenwright’s office. Tom de Keyser, the musical supervisor, was there and I’ve known him for many years from the Blood Brothers days. We chatted about the role, I sang my song from the show through and they kind of said, “Would you be interested?” and I said, “Yes absolutely!” It was so nice to be going back into the Bill Kenwright team again – they’re a great bunch of people. It’s the music that really attracted me to the show. It’s great nostalgic 60s music that will never die. It will always be in people’s hearts and in their heads!
That’s such a hard question! I like ‘Viva Las Vegas’ because I get to sing that and I’m a massive Elvis fan. ‘Surrender’ is a great song and I also like ‘1-2-3’ which is by Len Barry, it has always been one of my favourite songs ever. When I got told I would be singing it I was like… proper buzzing! I was so happy! Those three really stand out for me because they’re the songs I sing and hopefully I do them justice.
How did you find rehearsals? Did you enjoy putting your own stamp on the role?
The rehearsal process was brilliant! Bill Deamer choreographed it with his assistant Kylie (Anne Cruikshanks) and everyone was just on it. We all knew we had just two and half weeks of rehearsals so had to get on with it. There was no time to faff about. Luckily there were people who had done it before so they were on hand to help which was great – new people like me could ask them lots of questions. It was just a really good fun process and by the end of it we just needed an audience.
Have you enjoyed coming back into a show and being part of a cast again?
Absolutely, I love joining a new cast of people because you all make friends and are in that little tour bubble together. Everything is all about the show because everyone is so passionate and good at their job so they want to make sure it’s right. There’s no bad eggs in this cast, everyone’s professional so it has been really good to getting to know everyone.
What can someone who knows nothing about Save The Last Dance For Me expect from the show?
They’re going to leave on their feet – there’s a brilliant megamix at the end of the show. The good thing about Save The Last Dance For Me is that it’s about two sisters on their first ever holiday away from their parents, so I think people who come and see it will be reminded of their first ever time of falling in love in the 60s and hearing these songs on the radio. It’s a very nostalgic show, and there’s a great message running through it too.
Do you enjoy life on the road?
Do you know what? That’s what I love! I love going to different parts of the UK when you’re doing a musical like this because every audience is different. The good thing is, it keeps you on your toes. We’re not in one place for more than a week so you’ve just got to hit the ground running. When I toured before it was crazy; I did a show called Boogie Nights and places like Wimbledon were great… but then we went up to Scotland and did Glasgow and everyone was on their feet and there were loads of hen parties jumping up and down – it was like a concert! It’s nice to get different reactions.
How does going out onstage as a character compare to going out onstage as part of Blue?
I prefer it! When you’re in a band people have obviously paid for tickets to see you. That’s great – it’s amazing and what has got me through the last fifteen years of being in this business. But, when you’re in a show 90% of the people are not there specifically to see you, you’re just part of the cast and I love that. I love playing a part because it’s a massive team effort. I thrive off the challenge and love being someone different! I just love proving people wrong [laughs], I read things on Twitter like ‘This person shouldn’t be in that show because he/she hasn’t trained’…. Well, people don’t know my background so when I’m onstage hopefully I do a good job and people go, ‘actually, he’s alright’. I don’t like people judging something before they’ve seen it, I think that’s wrong.
Absolutely! So were you always keen to get into theatre? Is it something you want to do more of?
If I could work in theatre and TV and film for the rest of my life, I would be a happy, happy man. I love the music, I love being in the band and I love the boys… but I think sometimes you’ve got to come away from it and do other things so that you can appreciate what you’ve got. Last year me and the boys did a great UK tour and it went really well, but sometimes you’ve got to think to yourself ‘I want to do something different’. When the audition for Milton came up I thought to myself ‘Do you know what? I’ve got nothing to lose!’ It will always be on my CV Andrew, just like playing Mickey in Blood Brothers will always be on my CV. Nobody can take that away from me! That’s what I love.
What is it like now to look back at your time in Blood Brothers? Mickey is such a huge role to take on!
I will treasure that experience forever, it was a great part to play – I got to play a scouser eight times a week! When Bill came into our rehearsals for Save The Last Dance For Me he pointed out myself to the rest of the cast and went, “This boy here… Antony Costa… what an actor. He blew me away in Blood Brothers.” He didn’t have to say that, it was so lovely! Blood Brothers will always have a very special place in my heart. It’s probably one of the best musicals of all time, a show doesn’t run for thirty years if it’s rubbish!
Finally tell me about the dedicated support you have behind you. It must be so nice to know that people who have followed you over the past fifteen years with Blue will come along and see you in this!
It’s brilliant! If they’re taking the time to come and see you it’s so lovely! I’m not part of the band for the next seven months – I mean obviously I am part of the band, but I’m having time away to do this. It’s so nice when people take time to come and see you and write messages to you on social media and wait behind afterwards for autographs and pictures. It’s just a great feeling! Before my first night I had loads of messages from Blue fans wishing me luck. They didn’t have to do that, but they did because they care and it’s lovely!
Interviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
Save the Last Dance for Me is currently booking to 17th September 2016. Please visit www.kenwright.com for further information, tour dates and tickets.